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March 23, 2020: Coronavirus Update from Congressman Paul Mitchell

March 25, 2020
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As your representative in Congress, I want to share an update on the developing Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, and the steps being taken in response.

I am sharing frequent updates on my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/reppaulmitchell/.

For a full list of resources you can also check my website, where I’ll be posting the latest and more comprehensive Coronavirus information.

Please note this is a rapidly developing situation, and the information below is current as of March 23, 2020 at 9:00 am EST

Federal Government Response

  • Last week, Congress passed and the President signed the second Coronavirus response bill, called the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. This package bolsters unemployment insurance, provides emergency nutritional assistance for vulnerable Americans, ensures free COVID-19 testing for all Americans, and requires paid sick leave for impacted workers. For a summary of the bill, click here.
  • The first Coronavirus package, also signed into law, contained $8.3 billion to increase the availability of tests, support public and private efforts toward developing a vaccine, and provide assistance for small businesses. For a summary of the bill, click here.
  • A third package to provide additional support for the economy and Americans is in progress.

Below are new guidelines on how to slow the spread of the Coronavirus:

Small Businesses

  • The Small Business Administration's activities and support efforts are rapidly developing in response to Coronavirus. The best public information is available here
  • On March 19, the U.S. Small Business Administration granted the Governor's request for a statewide Economic Injury Disaster declaration. The Michigan Congressional delegation sent a letter in support of this effort, which you can review here
  • The SBA's Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million that cna provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. 
  • Small businesses are encouraged to start collecting the information they'll need to complete and submit their application. The process for applying for these loans can be found online. For additional information or to obtain help preparing the loan application in advance of the declaration, please contact the Michigan SBA offices in Detroit or Grand Rapids. 

Unemployment Insurance 

  • If you're an employee who has lost their job, you may be eligible for unemployment benefits. 
  • At this time it is recommended that you file your unemployment claim online through the Michigan Web Account Manager (MiWAM). 
  • For information on filing a claim, visit the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency Website

Medicare 

  • With the emergence of Coronavirus and the need to keep vulnerable populations in their homes, Medicare has broadened access to telehealth services so that beneficiaries can receive a wider range of services from their doctors without having to travel to a healthcare facility.
  • The expansion of telehealth under Medicare will allow patients to use telecommunication technology for visits, virtual check-ins and e-visits. To read more about Medicare telemedicine services, click here

Schools 

  • On March 12, Governor Whitmer ordered the closure of all K-12 schools beginning Monday, March 16. 
  • Meals are still being provided to students during these closures under the Unanticipated School Closure Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). For a map of meal pickups and drop off locations, click here.

Public Gatherings 

  • Governor Whitmer issued an executive order banning public gatherings of 50 people or more in the state of Michigan. 
  • This took effect on March 17, 2020 at 9:00 am and will continue through April 5, 2020 and 5:00 pm. To read the executive order, click here

Social Security Offices 

  • The U.S. Social Security Administration offices have suspended in-person services. 
  • Online services are available here. Services include retirement, disability, and Medicare benefits applications; application and appeal status updates; replacement Social Security card (in most areas) requests; benefit verification letter printing; and much more. 
  • If you need assistance with a federal agency at this time, please contact my office so we can help. 

Additional Resources 

For a full list of resources and regular updates, you can also check my website, where I'll be posting the latest Coronavirus information. 

If all of us do our part in addressing this public health challenge we can minimize its negative effects. You have my pledge that I will continue to do what I can as your federal representative in Congress. 

 

Sincerely,

Paul Mitchell
Member of Congress 

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